Geneva to set schedule for drafting Syrian constitution

Geneva to set schedule for drafting Syrian constitution

'This will be a delicate job and a delicate exercise,' said UN special envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura

By Diyar Guldogan

ANKARA (AA) - UN special envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura on Tuesday welcomed a proposal on forming a constitutional committee after intra-Syrian talks.

De Mistura's remarks came after a proposal to organize the committee by the parties at the two-day Syrian National Dialogue Congress in the Russian city of Sochi organized by Ankara, Tehran and Moscow.

“You did work hard today. You concluded that a Constitutional Committee should at the very least comprise the government, opposition representatives in the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva, Syrian experts, civil society, independents, tribal leaders and women. You have also concluded that care would be taken to ensure adequate representation of Syria’s ethnical and religious leaders - and we have seen many here today,” de Mistura said after the congress, according to a statement.

De Mistura acknowledged that the congress had concluded that final agreement on the composition of the constitutional committee would be reached under the UN-led Geneva process.

“I will be indicating as soon as possible – because Syria cannot wait -- how I intend to proceed on my mandated task under Resolution 2254, which means in practice setting in Geneva a schedule and process for constitution drafting. This way, a constitutional committee can really and concretely be established and begin to work,” he said.

“This will be a delicate job -- that’s our job and your job too -- and a delicate exercise, and I will proceed with care as guided by the Secretary-General and Resolution 2254.”

De Mistura noted that all Syrians seek a safe, calm and neutral environment for a constitutional drafting to unfold and that all Syrians need “a sustained ceasefire, full humanitarian access and the release of detainees, abductees and missing people”.

Earlier Tuesday, the Syrian opposition decided not to participate in the Sochi summit and instead announced that Turkey could do it on its behalf, anonymous diplomatic sources said.

A Syrian opposition delegation arrived at Sochi for the summit but later changed their mind when they saw pictures with Syrian regime flags on it. Afterwards, they gave Turkey the authority to represent it at the summit, said the sources.

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